Holding out hope for a surprise with next iPad

February 23, 2012 By Troy Wolverton

With Apple expected to unveil the next version of the iPad early next month, I worry that I'll feel like a kid on Christmas who weeks before found the unwrapped presents hidden in the closet.

I'm concerned there won't be any surprises, that I already know all there is to know about it.

Here's hoping that proves me wrong.

While company officials have declined to comment about the new iPad on the record, specifications for the device have been widely reported in the press.

The iPad 3, as it's been unofficially dubbed, is expected to have a screen with twice the resolution of the first two models. It's expected to have a faster processor, likely one with 4 cores, and 4G . It also will almost certainly have an improved to make all the images on that high-resolution screen look pretty and move smoothly.

Oh, and it might have a new camera, if recent pictures that surfaced supposedly depicting the back case of the iPad 3 are any indication.

I'm not dismissing these upgrades. The high-resolution display that Apple put into the and its successor looks stunning compared to the ones used in older models. I'm sure the one in the next iPad will be similarly impressive. Processor upgrades are generally a welcome addition, because they enable new features and new kinds of applications. And the front- and rear-facing cameras on the iPad 2 are awful; I'd love to see those upgraded.

I'm not going to argue that Apple needs to make radical changes to the iPad. The device has been a runaway success, dominating the since the first version launched.

The tablets that tried to go head-to-head with the iPad - such as Research in Motion's , Hewlett-Packard's and Motorola's - all failed to knock it from its perch. While Amazon's Kindle Fire is gaining fans and Windows 8 tablets represent another potential challenge, there's little indication that either represent a real threat to Apple's dominance.

So my plea for novelty is mainly selfish; I'd like to see something I didn't expect.

The upgrades in the next iPad either have been long expected or represent logical, incremental changes. Either way, they're nothing to get worked up about.

So what would get me excited? Here are a few possibilities:

-An iPad mini. The iPad and the iPhone are great devices, but neither of them is ideal for reading books or taking notes. The iPad's a bit too heavy and the iPhone's a bit small. I'd like to see Apple make a device that's right in the middle, that's about the same size as the Kindle Fire or one of the e-book readers.

I know that Apple's late CEO Steve Jobs said that size just doesn't work for a tablet, but the success of the Kindle Fire and the millions of e-book readers Amazon and other companies have sold argues against that.

-A lower price. The iPad seemed to be a bargain when Apple released it at $500. But with devices like the and Barnes & Noble's Nook Tablet priced at $250 or less, the iPad is looking ever more pricey. And let's face it: Many folks can't afford to pony up $500 for an iPad.

Here's where a smaller iPad could help. A smaller size and a smaller, lower-resolution screen would cost a lot less to make than the current version, allowing Apple to offer a low-price model.

-Handwriting recognition. I know, I know: Jobs believed that companies that shipped a tablet with a stylus "blew it" in terms of design. I'm not arguing that the iPad should be transformed into a Windows-style pen-based tablet instead of one that responds to fingertip input. But I'd love to be able to take notes on an iPad or iPhone while out on assignment or even in the grocery store.

Unfortunately, the on-screen keyboard is too slow and an external keyboard too unwieldy. Some apps let you write with your fingertip or an optional stylus, and some recognize handwriting, but only within that particular application. I'd like to see the feature available within some of the devices' native applications, such as notes and reminders.

This feature would be something of a back-to-the-future play for Apple. The Newton, Apple's first tablet-like device, included handwriting recognition that was widely mocked for the poor job it did. But the technology has come a long way since then.

-Siri. When I first tested it, I loved the speech recognition service Apple built into the iPhone 4S. It's since lost some of its charm; due to network problems or other reasons, I could only get it to work about half the time I used it after I initially tested it.

Still, when it works, Siri is very cool. It can make searching for information on the much easier than having to find and launch a particular application. So, I'd love to see the be able to use it too.

Explore further: Apple testing smaller screen tablet: WSJ


Related Stories

Solid debut for Amazon's Kindle Fire: research firm

February 16, 2012

Amazon's Kindle Fire, which went on sale in November, had a solid debut, leapfrogging Samsung tablets to become the top-selling device after Apple's iPad, a market research firm said Thursday.

Amazon routes Kindle books to rival iPad

April 3, 2010

Amazon.com on Friday released an application that lets people read digitized Kindle books on rival iPad tablet computers poised to debut in the United States.

Second-generation iPad in production: WSJ

February 8, 2011

Apple has started production of a thinner, more powerful version of its popular iPad tablet computers, according to unnamed sources cited by the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.

Recommended for you

Researchers find tweeting in cities lower than expected

February 20, 2018

Studying data from Twitter, University of Illinois researchers found that less people tweet per capita from larger cities than in smaller ones, indicating an unexpected trend that has implications in understanding urban pace ...

Augmented reality takes 3-D printing to next level

February 20, 2018

Cornell researchers are taking 3-D printing and 3-D modeling to a new level by using augmented reality (AR) to allow designers to design in physical space while a robotic arm rapidly prints the work.


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Feb 23, 2012
I agree, there is little to be surprised about these days but that doesn't stop me from being nearly giddy for the new iPad, even if it doesn't have any surprises.

- iPad Mini, would love to see it, but not going to happen this month :(
- Lower price, yeah, wouldn't expect this either. I do think that the iPad2 will stay around for this year and be the lower price point though. Also, to say that the price should be lower because the kindle is only $200 is like saying a Ferrari should be cheaper because you can get a Toyoda for less.
- Handwriting recognition, this would be cool.
- Siri, nearly guaranteed. I would be shocked if she weren't part of the iPad3.

Add to this:
128GB version - I needz me more space!
A smart cover that covers the back as well (although 3rd party is fine I guess)
Hot Spot! I'm paying for data, let me share it.
Vibration - game feedback and silent notifications
5 / 5 (1) Feb 23, 2012
In other word's you would like to have a Samsung Galaxy NOTE device.
It's there, go buy one!
Feb 23, 2012
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
5 / 5 (1) Feb 24, 2012
This article is the tech world's equivalent to those English essays you had to write in high school, where word count was more important than content, and you just came up with nonsense as you went along without thinking any of it through.

- iPad mini: This is the iPhone. If you want something for book reading, buy an ordinary Kindle. The iPad turned sideways is just fine for reading a book. Too heavy? Have you held a book? They weigh the same. People buy the iPad BECAUSE it is large.

- A lower price: Why? Author compares the $500 iPad to $250 Kindle Fires & Nooks as if they're the same thing. If someone wants to spend $200 on a cheap tablet with a small screen, there's many products out there. If they want to spend $500 for a higher quality tablet, there's many of those out there, too, including the iPad. You get what you pay for, it's not like Apple is raking in a massive profit margin on iPad sales.

- Handwriting: You take your iPad to the grocery store? This article is a joke.
5 / 5 (2) Feb 24, 2012
Is this a science site or a place to read previews of adverts?
2.3 / 5 (3) Feb 24, 2012
I have to agree with jerkinwithmirkin, who apparently can handle the iPad with one hand, :). The iPad is perfect in size. I would like to see the iPhone a little bigger however.

@Steve, you're in the "electronics; consumer & gadgets" section.
not rated yet Feb 27, 2012
I've got a Touchpad and its heavier than the ipad but not that bad to use at all. Granted having used my gf's kindle thats way easier for prolonged use...he's not saying the size is unworkable but it would b nice? I'd jus go for a Galaxy Tab 7.7 or Playbook if I want the smaller size tho...

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.